Who is India Walton? Socialist set to become Buffalo’s first female mayor


A self-proclaimed political and socialist newcomer appeared to claim an upset victory over longtime Buffalo mayor Byron Brown in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. India Walton is set to become the city’s first female mayor and the country’s first socialist mayor in six decades.

Walton won 52 percent of the in-person vote compared to Brown’s 45 percent, according to the unofficial Erie County Board of Elections’ election night tally. His lead of around 1,500 votes would be roughly equal to the number of postal ballots remaining to be counted. That would make it highly unlikely that Brown would make a comeback, but the outgoing mayor refused to concede until all the mail-in ballots had been counted. It should be noted that the Democratic primary essentially decides the city’s mayoral race, given that Republicans will not field a candidate in November, WBFO reported.

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Surrounded by supporters at the Poize Bar on Niagara Street, Walton said her victory warned establishment Democrats in Buffalo. “This victory is ours,” she said. “If you are in an elected office at the moment, you are put on notice. We arrive.”

Additionally, Walton is set to become the first woman and woman of color to be mayor in Buffalo history. Meanwhile, she would also be the first socialist mayor of a major American city since Frank Zeidler of Milwaukee, who served until 1960, according to WBFO.

Walton, 38, is a registered nurse, community organizer and most recently served as executive director of the Fruit Belt Community Land trust. That said, she has been spotted in protests against police brutality since George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day last year.

Walton got his victory after launching a popular campaign against Brown, a four-term holder who refused to debate it or organize large-scale campaign events. “Today is just the beginning. From the very beginning. I said it was not about making India Walton Mayor a buffalo. It’s about building the infrastructure to challenge everything, ”Walton told his supporters.

She was asked Tuesday night why she believed voters picked her after 16 years with Brown. “Although we have seen progress in some areas, the majority of us have not enjoyed what is called the rebirth,” she said. “I think now is the time when people get up and say we’re not going to take this lying down. The status quo is not enough and people just want change. “

It’s important to note that throughout Brown’s tenure, Buffalo remained one of the poorest cities in America with a current poverty rate of around 30%. Walton, when asked by a reporter if she identified as a socialist, replied, “Oh, absolutely.”

Byron William Brown II is the 62nd and current mayor of Buffalo, New York, elected on November 8, 2005, and is the city’s first African-American mayor. (Wikimedia Commons)

“The entire intention of this campaign is to reduce power and resources to the ground level and in the hands of the people,” she continued. “And when we think of socialism, we totally agree with socialism for the rich. We will bail out Wall Street and the banks and give one of the richest people in the world (Elon Musk) $ 1 billion in tax incentives to build an empty Tesla factory in South Buffalo. And when it comes to providing the resources working families need to thrive, socialism gets scary at this point. So I am very proud to be a democratic socialist.

Walton said he received a congratulatory call on Tuesday from fellow Democratic Socialist New York MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who spoke about Walton’s likely victory on Tuesday night.

Walton told reporters on Tuesday night that his team are planning to launch next year. “It’s been 16 years and although we have seen progress in some areas, there are a lot of people that the majority of us did not like in what has been called the Renaissance,” he said. she declared. people get up and say we’re not going to lie down. The status quo is not enough. And people just want change.

While Mayor Brown has yet to concede, the local Democratic Party has already acknowledged Walton’s likely victory. Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner said in a statement he would gladly help Walton “as she embarks on a new administration and a new era for the city of Buffalo,” WBFO reported .

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